University of Missouri Looks to Boost Black Faculty

University-of-Missouri-Mizzou-logoLast fall, several incidents of racism occurred on the campus of the University of Missouri. Tim Wolfe, president of the University of Missouri System, resigned on November 9 after a series of campus demonstrations, including a hunger strike by a Black student, protesting his lack of appropriate action. Later, the same day, R. Bowen Loftin, chancellor of the Columbia campus, announced that he would step down.

Emboldened by their success, student protestors announced a series of demands. One of these demands was that the university increase Black faculty from 3 percent to 10 percent by 2018.

Now, the university administration has released a target of increasing “minority” faculty from 6.7 percent to 13.4 percent over the next four years. Among the programs announced to reach this goal is an incentive fund to encourage departments to hire faculty members from underrepresented groups and a new postdoctoral fellows program that will groom new holders of doctorates for faculty posts.

The fallout from last year’s student protests has had a negative impact on Black enrollments at the University of Missouri. Overall enrollments at the university are down 6.2 percent. Blacks make up 6.9 percent of total enrollments, down from 7.2 percent a year ago. This is the first time in the past decade where the overall percentage of African American enrollments has declined.

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